Lone Pine, Calif. - For the first time in the 30-year history of the Kiehl Badwater Ultramarathon, a runner has covered the 135 miles from Death Valley to Mount Whitney in less than a day.
Rookie Valmir Nunes of Brazil ascended two places in the late stages of the race on Tuesday to win in a record time of 22 hours, 51 minutes and 29 seconds.
The old record of 24:36:08 was set by Scott Jurek in 2005.
Runner-up for the second straight year was Hungarian Akos Konya, who resides in Oceanside, Calif. Konya also bested Jurek's record time, finishing in 23:47:47.
California runners also finished in third and fourth places as David Goggins of Chula Vista came in third at 25:49:40 and Jorge Pacheco of Los Angeles was fourth in 26:41:52. Goggins came in fifth the previous year.
Pacheco, who set record times through the first four time stations, reportedly was passed by Nunes near mile 118, just south of Lone Pine. Somewhere near the 110-mile mark, both of Pacheco's quadriceps' gave out and he was reduced to a shuffling walk.
"... It was a mistake," Pacheco said. "I've never run this far and I was unable to slow down."
Nunes, who won the Brooks Brazil 135, which is part of the Badwater World Cup series, picked up his pace as the race progressed. He trailed Pacheco by nearly 40 minutes at one point.
"I was in control of the situation," Nunes said. "I knew that on the descents and climbs still to come that I could regain this time. Even so, I had to force the pace to catch them, and that is why I got tired on the final climb."
Nunes trained in Death Valley for 10 days leading up to the race. "During that time I realized that I could break the record," he said.
Jamie Donaldson of Littleton, Colo., was top female through 90 miles. The 32-year-old runner was timed in 19:13 with 45 miles remaining, but her lead was significantly trimmed by the 121-mile mark. She led by 3 minutes over Lisa Bliss of Spokane, Wash.
Pam Reed of Tucson, Ariz., set the women's record of 27:56:47 in 2002.
Runners were required to cover three mountain ranges, totalling 13,000 feet in ascents and 4,700 feet in descents.
Temperatures reached as high as 114 degrees in Furnace Creek on Monday.